I have a custom entity type (eg: myentitytype), and I would like to add a new base field to it via hook_entity_base_field_info(). As I understand it, single value fields (with a cardinality of 1) will create new columns in the myentitytype_field_data table, but multi-value fields will create a new table.

My question: is it possible to force a single-value field to be stored in its own database table, rather than adding columns to the myentity_field_data table?

  • Can you not add it as config entity fields as opposed to entity base fields? I think they all have their individual tables. (Not sure about the multi / single value fields) – baikho Nov 18 '20 at 13:21
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    Yes that's true - a config entity field would put it in a separate table. I was specifically curious about where the logic for base fields makes this decision, and if there were any way to specify. Thanks! – m.stenta Nov 18 '20 at 13:39
  • For anyone curious why: I am considering adding a Geofield as a base field, which has 9 columns. It may result in sparse data if its in the shared table. Other logic will depend on this field, which is why I am considering making it a base field. – m.stenta Nov 18 '20 at 13:41

Seems the following class is responsible for determining a separate field storage table:


It returns a boolean based on the following 4 conditions:

public function allowsSharedTableStorage(FieldStorageDefinitionInterface $storage_definition) {
  return !$storage_definition->hasCustomStorage() && $storage_definition->isBaseField() && !$storage_definition->isMultiple() && !$storage_definition->isDeleted();

The only feasible solution would be to implement your own Storage handler and flag the basefield with "custom_storage" => TRUE

  • Thanks this is exactly the logic I was looking for! :-) – m.stenta Nov 18 '20 at 13:38
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    FYI: As an alternative solution, I created a proposal for Drupal core that would add a new hasDedicatedStorage() method to base field definitions, which would allow developers to explicitly specify that they want dedicated table storage for their single-value base field. drupal.org/project/drupal/issues/3183359 – m.stenta Nov 19 '20 at 1:16

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